The European citizens’ initiative Stop Finning – Stop the Trade has set itself the goal of legally banning the trade with shark fins in Europe. Votes are currently being collected by Stop Finning across Europe until 31 January 2022 to introduce a proposal for an amendment of the law on the trade with shark fins. So far, the initiative was able to collect around 1,049,000 votes which means that the matter will be discussed in front of the European Commission.
Up to 273 million sharks are still caught and killed worldwide every year almost exclusively for their fins. Exact figures remain speculation due to the lack of reliable data and the enormous number of unreported cases of illegal catches. The main consumer of shark fins, which are then made into thin shark fin soup, is Asia. However, European countries such as Spain, France and Portugal are among the largest shark fishing nations in the world.
Even though the removal of shark fins on board of EU vessels as well as in EU waters is prohibited, sharks are still allowed to be caught with their fins attached. The European Union is still one of the major exporters of fins and acts as a transit hub for the global fin trade. Furthermore, as inspections at sea are scarce, fins can still be illegally retained, transshipped, or landed in EU.
“Only a consistent ban on the trade with shark fins in Europe can help to protect the highly endangered marine animals,” said Dr. Nils Kluger, the elected chairman of the Germany-based StopFinningEU e.V. association’s board and continued, “for this we still need many votes.”
All European citizens can cast their vote in support of the Stop Finning initiative until 31 January 2022 here.
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Photography courtesy of Pexels and Sea Shepherd (on this page).